Prince Andrew not so pitch perfect

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Poor Prince Andrew. Unlike his nephews, there wasn’t quite the same fanfare surrounding his trip Down Under last week, with many people not even realising he had come and gone.

The Duke of York was in the country to launch [email protected], a program to help entrepreneurs develop their ideas at Macquarie University’s Incubator.


Private Sydney: The Last Rockstar

Channel Seven commemorates the 20th anniversary of Michael Hutchence’s death with a documentary that gives never before seen glimpses of the late INXS star’s private life.

As PS’ sister column CBD reported on Thursday, The Duke Of York attended a dinner at the Australian Club in Sydney’s Macquarie Street organised by his former Sydney based sister-in-law, Jane “Fergie Down Under” Ferguson.

Not that it made it into the social pages.

Indeed, the Prince would have done well not to read the press coverage of his trip to Australia, especially the online comments.

One reader, quite possibly a republican, wrote: “What on earth is Andrew doing (apart from the obvious) spending 12 days in Australia on his sixth foreign trip of the year? The sight of him in public is hardly likely to reassure the Aussies that they might not be better off without our royal family.”

Bitter tears on eve of Michael Hutchence’s anniversary

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of rock star Michael Hutchence’s death, the late frontman of INXS remains a complicated and contradictory character for those who knew him best.

While Hutchence often referred to his bandmates as his “brothers”, according to his sister Tina Hutchence, the singer had been trying to get out of the band for years before he met his untimely end in a Double Bay hotel suite on November 20, 19

The Last Rockstar, Michael Hutchence Photo Credit: Chris Cuffaro

The Last Rockstar, Michael Hutchence Photo: Chris Cuffaro/Seven Network

Speaking to The Australian Women’s Weekly, Hutchence’s sister makes it clear feelings between her and the remaining INXS bandmates remain somewhat fraught.

Recounting an episode in 2005 when she went to a gig INXS were playing in Los Angeles, she reveals how she had tried to arrange for tickets so she could take her children to see them perform. Her overtures were in vain.

Tina Hutchence.

Tina Hutchence. Photo: Seven Network

“I tried to call someone to get tickets, couldn’t [get them], so thought forget it, I’ll go with my kids and just show up. The resident manager saw me and did a double-take. He came over and said, ‘Tina, why didn’t you tell me you were coming?’. I said, ‘You’re a difficult man to get hold of.’

“After the show, I stayed out there, and a couple of old fans recognised me, then we moved into another room. I stood there with my children and the band walked in one by one. Andrew [Farriss], who has always been very sensitive, he just hugged me very tightly and began to weep. I said ‘It’s OK.’ He said, ‘It’s just, this is the closest I’ve been to Michael since he died.'”

On Monday Channel Seven airs the first episode of its two-part special on Hutchence, produced by news veteran Mark Llewellyn, which provides a glimpse into the private world of Hutchence, with unprecedented access to his collection of home movies, diaries and photo albums.

“We sourced material from four continents and five countries, it’s been over a year in the making and we have some great talent on the show, from Bono and Simon Le Bon to Tina Hutchence … they co-operated, so did the trustee of Michael’s estate, Colin Diamond … they wanted us to focus on Michael’s life, to celebrate what he achieved,” Llewellyn told PS.

But there are noticeable absences from the television special, including Hutchence former lover Kylie Minogue, who “politely declined” to participate, his fellow band members, who are only seen in archival interviews and Sir Bob Geldof, the former partner of Hutchence’s lover Paula Yates and the man who eventually was left to raise Hutchence’s only child, Tiger Lily. She was still a baby when she lost both her parents and is now a 21-year-old woman.

Michael Hutchence with his baby girl Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.

Michael Hutchence with his baby girl Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily. Photo: Seven Network

Hutchence was found hanged in a Sydney hotel room just hours after arguing with Geldof on the phone. Tiger Lily was 16 months old.

“We approached Sir Bob and through him Tiger Lily. She very much considers Bob to be her father … at this stage they did not want to participate,” Llewellyn said, alluding that he was hopeful the world may finally get to hear from Tiger Lily in the not-too-distant future.

Tiger Lily Hutchence as she appeared modelling on the House of Khadi website in 2016.

Tiger Lily Hutchence as she appeared modelling on the House of Khadi website in 2016.

Indeed the 21-year-old who splits her time between homes in London and New York, has managed to cultivate an air of mystery around her, from posing naked in a series of erotic photographs by London photographer Kate Bellm earlier this year to pursuing a career in the arts, having studied at a prestigious New York acting school for the past three years.

Llewellyn said song writing notes were found in the suite, which will be shown for the first time on Monday night, revealing Hutchence was drawing on his emotional turmoil for his music and was planning new material right up until his death.

INXS guitarist Tim Farriss once said of Hutchence’s tumultuous relationship with Geldof: “Michael hated Bob so much; to think that he would end up as the sole parent of Tiger Lily would have been the most horrific thing he could have imagined.”

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Celebrating the sisterhood

They are the ladies who lunch … oh, and work for world peace, grace our TV screens, write books, raise families, help the poor, seek to cure sickness, inspire and educate countless young minds, edit magazines and run huge corporations between doing the school run and pilates classes.

Former Governor General Quentin Bryce, 7:30 host Leigh Sales, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and ABC presenter Annabel Crabb at the Australian Women's Weekly event on Wednesday evening.

Former Governor General Quentin Bryce, 7:30 host Leigh Sales, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and ABC presenter Annabel Crabb at the Australian Women’s Weekly event on Wednesday evening. Photo: https://twitter.com/JulieBishopMP

Indeed there was one of every kind of woman at The Langham on Wednesday when the Women Of The Future Awards got underway, with the likes of Maggie Tabberer, Wendy Whiteley, Dame Quentin Bryce, Michelle Bridges, Leigh Sales, Annabel Crabb, Cassandra Thorburn, Marta Dusseldorp, Lisa Wilkinson, Peta Credlin, Turia Pitt, Miranda Tapsell, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Ita Buttrose all converging to celebrate the sisterhood.

It was interesting to watch Credlin, the former chief of staff of former prime minister Tony Abbott, wear her best “poker face” during Bishop’s revelations.

Television personality Melissa Doyle, left, with Peta Credlin at The Australian Women's Weekly Women Of The Future luncheon.

Television personality Melissa Doyle, left, with Peta Credlin at The Australian Women’s Weekly Women Of The Future luncheon. Photo: Belinda Rolland

Bishop talked about how lonely it was being the sole woman in the former Abbott cabinet, and her experiences of sexism in politics, especially her claims Abbott’s cabinet largely ignored her while her male colleagues were slapped on the back for coming up with the same ideas she had already pitched.

Relations between Credlin and Bishop appear to remain frosty since Abbott’s downfall, though Credlin did graciously applaud (four claps exactly, PS was counting) when Bishop wrapped up her talk.

Interesting to see Karl Stefanovic’s television “wife” Lisa Wilkinson in the same room as his former real-life wife, Cassandra Thorburn, who was a vision in pink and smiled broadly as she worked the room.

Both Marta Dusseldorp and Crown Prosecutor Margaret Cunneen had “fan girl” moments when they got down on bended knee to commune with Maggie Tabberer who appeared to be in the midst of a headwear duel with Wendy Whitely. They were both elegantly turned out in black, Tabberer sporting her trademark beret and Whitely wearing her usual sculptural head knots.

But it was the future generations The Australian Women’s Weekly and Qantas were paying tribute to, with this year’s Judges’ Choice winner being Saskia Hampele, founder of Gift Box, a social enterprise that distributes tampons to homeless women throughout Australia.

Spotlight

They were routinely referred to simply as “shop girls”, but the women who worked in Sydney’s department stores of the 1950s and 1960s were much more than simply retail decoration.

Rachael Taylor set to play one of Sydney's ultimate ladies in black.

Rachael Taylor set to play one of Sydney’s ultimate ladies in black. Photo: Steven Chee

One of Australia’s most acclaimed film directors Bruce Beresford is about to start shooting a big screen adaptation of Madeleine St John’s 1993 best-selling novel, The Women in Black. The Ladies In Black stars Mad Men‘s Julia Ormond as Magda Szombatheli, the charming and sophisticated Slovenian émigré; The Beguild‘s Angourie Rice in the role of Sydney schoolgirl Lisa Miles and Rachael Taylor as Fay Baines.

Described as a “feel-good film”, in The Ladies in Black, high-fashion and glamour are the catalyst for a positive, indelible change in a young Sydney woman’s life.

Set in the summer of 1959, when the impact of European migration and the rise of women’s liberation is about to change Australia forever, a shy schoolgirl takes a summer job at the grand city department store, Goode’s, while awaiting the results of her final exams.

There she meets the “ladies in black” – the glamorous Goode’s employees. Beguiled and influenced by Magda, the vivacious manager of the high-fashion floor, and befriended by fellow sales lady Fay, Lisa grows from a bookish girl to a glamorous young woman.

While Goode’s is a fictional department store, there are still women in Sydney started their careers working as one of the “ladies in black” in department stores like David Jones.

In 1947 Noreen Foley was one of the young girls who started in the pay office at David Jones, responsible for the pay packets of 5000 employees. She is now 89.

“There were a lot of women working in the office as well as on the floor of the stores … it was a very glamorous place to go to work. I remember doing all the pay packets for the ‘mannequins’, which is what we called the models back then. They didn’t have agents, they would come up to the pay office themselves and collect their earnings,” Noreen recalled to PS.

Among those models were young women who became celebrities in Sydney with the likes of Maide Hann and Norma Geneave regularly gracing the social pages.

Former Sydney model Maide Hann

Former Sydney model Maide Hann.

“A couple of us girls snuck into the Christian Dior show when they brought the gowns out from Paris, we sat up the back … it was an incredible thing to see,” Noreen enthused, adding that it was a highly regimented and organised work place, where staff, especially young women, had to follow strict rules, which covered everything from their black uniforms to their behaviour.

Norma Geneave modelling the latest Sydney fashions on September 21, 1954.

Norma Geneave modelling the latest Sydney fashions on September 21, 1954. Photo: Fairfax Media

“It was a very different time to today … there were a lot more rules,” she said, adding wryly “every now and then we would find a way to bend them just a little.”

Carissa

Earth will move for well-heeled Carissa

PS had never heard of “Sydney style icon” and Australian Turf Club ambassador Carissa Walford before, but she will certainly be the object of some fascination at Royal Randwick on Saturday – not for her headwear but rather what is on her feet.

Wearing a pair of specially built “Unpredictaheels”, commissioned by the ATC, the high heels have a lot of high-tech gadgetry packed into them, including an RFID chip with Walford’s Members Pass lodged inthe heel that allows her to tap to gain access into VIP sections. Presumably, she will be hurdling around the various champagne bars on Saturday with one leg in the air.

The shoe also detects the closest betting ring with a left or right turn pulse sent through the relevant heel, along with race alerts in the form of a vibration in her soles two minutes before the start of each race. There’s also a PayPass chip in her upper sole to pay for drinks and nibbles.

But the best feature? If she clicks her heels three times, it sends a message for her driver to come pick her up.

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